FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Jets have emerged as one of the surprise teams in the NFL with a 4-3 mark, but they're still searching to put together solid back-to-back games, having won consecutive games just once in their past 26 contests.
While quarterback Geno Smith has been around for just seven of those games, he recognizes consistent QB play goes a long way in building a winning streak.
"I definitely want to continue to play consistent. That's something I've been working extremely hard at and beating myself up about because I know that with that consistency in the quarterback level it usually leads to success with the team," Smith said. "That's something I'm trying to do and something I pride myself in -- being a consistent decision-maker. It has really hit home with me as of late."
New York Jets
Just like his team, Smith will attempt to string together two solid games when the Jets visit the Bengals on Sunday. Smith has not done well in the previous three games following Jets wins, completing a combined 57 of 103 passes for one touchdown and seven interceptions.
"We've been hot and cold but it's time for us to become level and play consistent, and it starts with practice," Smith said. "We've been getting better every day in practice and I think the chemistry is growing and guys are out there busting our butts, so hopefully we can continue to have success."
Jets coach Rex Ryan, who still wouldn't name Smith the starter for the rest of the year when asked Wednesday, said Smith has improved in practice. Smith agreed with Ryan's decision to not name him a permanent starter.
Smith's teammates have also noticed his improvement.
“I was standing on the sidelines with Santonio [Holmes], and [Smith] got down to second, third reads or check downs, stepped up in the pocket, just made some real veteran moves and Santonio and I looked at each other like, 'Man he’s really coming along,'" tight end Konrad Reuland said. "[He’s] really progressing and starting to play more like a veteran."
In trying to lead the Jets to back-to-back wins for the first time since 2011, Smith will have a tall task on Sunday as Cincinnati is ranked ninth in yards allowed per game and has won three straight.
With the Jets squarely in the playoff race, consistency is of paramount importance for Smith and the Jets.
"It's a great opportunity for us. It's something we've worked for but now's not the time to settle," Smith said. "We've got to continue to get better and keep climbing."